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Verbal Judo Institute, Inc. announces ‘Tactical Communication for the Correctional Professional’

Dr. George Thompson, president and founder of the Verbal Judo Institute (, is proud to announce the creation of the “Tactical Communication® for the Correctional Professional” Training Program. Dr. Thompson explains that “whereas the Verbal Judo® program was developed over twenty-five years ago for police officers, this Tactical Communication® training program has been expanded over the years to provide communication training for a wider range of public service professionals. Although the VJI has always provided training for correctional officers, the demand for training for all types of correctional and treatment staff has been dramatically increasing. We now have a program specifically designed for correctional staff that uses examples for corrections, correctional content, and correctional scenarios. In brief, we now have the correctional counterpart to the original Verbal Judo® training program.”

Gary Klugiewicz, a nationally known police and correctional defensive tactics instructor and subject matter expert, has taken the lead in developing the correctional Verbal Judo program. He is a Verbal Judo® national instructor and director of research and development for the VJI. His experience – working in correctional facilities, as a line officer, first line supervisor, command staff member, CERT® Team Commander, correctional defensive tactics training program designer, and judicious use-of-force correctional officer defense expert – makes him uniquely qualified to develop this program. Gary is also employed by PoliceOne® ( , the largest law enforcement website in the world. PoliceOne® has just launched CorrectionsOne® ( that will now provide correctional personnel with their own correctional informational, training, and product website. The strategic partnership that exists between the VJI and PoliceOne® features Dr. Thompson as a regular columnist and allows the new corrections program access to crucial and real-time information.

Although Tactical Communication® for the Correctional Professional has been in development for over five years, the first program was held recently at the U.S. Penitentiary in Pollock, LA. It was presented in response to a request from Employee Services Manager Rolando Rios and Employee Services Specialist Lisa Smith who wanted to conduct another Verbal Judo® Class for their staff but wanted it to be more focused on correctional issues and events. The program was delivered to a multiple disciplinary audience that included security staff, teachers, treatment staff, medical staff, administrators, supervisors, instructors, maintenance staff, and clerical staff. A wide range of staff members was sent to this training as it was recognized that all correctional staff members who have contact with the inmate population require upgraded and current communication skills. The program is designed to be taught in its entirely in a two day, sixteen hour format but is available in a shorter one day format for inservice
type presentations and a three day format that allows for extensive use of scenario-based simulation training. Instructor training will be developed as needed.

The program begins with a series of need assessment exercises establishing the need for communication skills in all phases of a correctional staff member’s life beginning in their homes and neighborhoods, to their public life, to interactions with law enforcement, to working in a correctional institution.

The program continues with an explanation that times are changing and that the rules of the job, the threats, and the solutions are becoming more and more communication-based. Tactical Communication® has been and will continue to increasingly become a staff safety issue. Good communication skills help keep everyone physically safer but now, more than ever, a staff members safety in terms of legal liability risk management is dependent on sound Tactical Communication® Skills.

Although the classic format of the program remains constant delivering sections on professionalism, tactical communication theory, communication tactics, and other related material, the way in which the class is conducted has changed dramatically. The program makes extensive use of audio-visual material that includes the incorporation of Dr. Thompson’s new video, CorrectionsOne® Peace Stories, to emphasize the use of Tactical Communication® to reduce the need for physical force options and to greatly reduce complaints from inmates, visitors, attorneys, other professional visitors, and other staff members. Extensive use is made of short video clips to depict correctional situations or to reinforce good communication skills. PowerPoint presentations designed to add to student retention and provide consistent program delivery have been added.

In addition, this training program now uses Dr. Karen (Spencer) Stentz-Huebner’s Purposeful Teaching® ( format. This approach is more interactive, experiential, learner-centered. Scenario based instruction is used to build on the experiences and strengths of the audience. The Verbal Judo for the Correctional Professional training program’s goal is to change the way that staff members operate in their duty assignments.

Staff safety is developed through the use of threat assessment, control of distance, positioning, and hand positioning while maximizing effective communication with the person that you are dealing with by using effective persuasion techniques coupled with proper tactical decision making. This includes the use of CorrectionsOne® video tactical tips to provide the most current officer safety training.

This program establishes a Continuum of Care for Ethical Interventions by staff members or others that assist in the establishment of service excellence. The program teaches that since there are no longer any professional “innocent” bystanders, it is each staff member’s responsibility not only to keep their fellow staff members physically safe but also to monitor each other for inappropriate comments and actions that could create ethical and/or legal problems. Participants are taught how to utilize a “caring watch” over their fellow staff members so as to attempt to prevent staff misconduct.

An articulation section was added to assist staff in decision-making, use-of-force report writing, use-of-force evaluation, and verbal testimony to assist staff in properly recording and documenting their response to stressful situations and to be able to justify their actions both verbally and in writing. Verbal Judo® tactics are used as the standard for evaluating and defending staff member actions.

For more information about this program, please visit the Verbal Judo website at or contact Gary Klugiewicz directly at